President Bush and senior members of the US Government turned out for the start of the Soldier Ride from the White House last week. The ride, undertaken by soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, was part of the Wounded Warrior Project designed to support the rehabilitation of US military personnel injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 65-mile bicycle ride, known as the "Soldier Ride: White House to Lighthouse," began on White House’s South Lawn last Thursday and finished in Annapolis, an East Coast city known for it’s attractive setting on Chesapeake Bay, on Saturday.
The ride was also designed to raise awareness of the capabilities of injured soldiers, seamen, airmen and Marines at the same time as providing rehabilitation for participants. Many of the participants are amputees and many are also handcyclists.
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center was one of the stops en route. It was here that Marine 1st Lieutenant Andrew Kinard, now a double amputee and Soldier Ride participant, spent a year recuperating from his injuries.
President Bush described the event as "one of the most inspiring athletic events in our nation's history"
The Wounded Warrior Project began four years ago as a cross-country journey by Chris Carney, who bicycled from Long Island, N.Y., to the Pacific Ocean to raise more than $1 million for the project
The project is now divided into regional Soldier Rides and those later in the year include the Empire State Challenge on New York’s Long Island and the High Desert Challenge from Phoenix to Las Vegas